Religion Today Summaries, October 22, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, October 22, 2003

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.  In today's edition:

  • Christians in Indonesia Flee Homes as Attacks Spread
  • Former Muslim Enlightens Administration
  • Ricardo Montalban Honored by Cathlics in Media
  • Christian Chinese Xiao's Wife Notified of Charges

Christians in Indonesia Flee Homes as Attacks Spread
Compass Direct
Villagers in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, are fleeing for their lives in reaction to recent attacks on four villages. Following the October 11 attack on the village of Old Beteleme, a further assault was launched in the early hours of October 12 on Saatu, Pantangolemba and Pinedapa, all villages with large Christian populations. Bands of masked raiders armed with automatic weapons sought out Christians for attack. Police reported nine people were killed and 11 were hospitalized. Even the deployment of extra armed forces to secure the area has had little effect upon the worried inhabitants. "People are too scared to remain in their isolated villages," said Mona Saroinsong, coordinator of the Crisis Center of the Protestant Church in North Sulawesi. "They have been walking through the jungle to the coast or making for Tentena."

Former Muslim Enlightens Administration
Agape Press

A Christian evangelist who was once a Muslim says National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice had no idea what she was talking about when she said this weekend that the war on terrorism is not a war between religions. The Bush Administration is apparently not happy with the comments of U.S. Army Lt. General William Boykin, who told a church group that he worships the real God, while a Muslim adversary worshipped an idol. From Thailand, Rice reacted to the Boykin comments by telling saying that no one should describe the war on terrorism as a war between religions. But former Muslim W. L. Cati had this reaction to Rice's comment. "I have not just studied Islam for 15 years; I was a part of it," Cati says, "and I know the dark side -- the real side -- of Islam." She adds that "most people who are out there on their bandwagon saying that it is not a war between two religions have no clue what they're talking about." Cati, who founded Zennah Ministries, says Ms. Rice and other members of the Administration simply do not understand Islam. The former Muslim says the ongoing war on terror is "a war between heaven and hell. It is a war between the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit," Cati says.

Ricardo Montalban Honored by Catholics in Media
David Finnigan, Religion News Service

Actor Ricardo Montalban was given the Life Achievement Award on Sunday (Oct. 19) at the 11th annual Catholics In Media Associates (CIMA) awards, which also honored the movie "Seabiscuit" and the NBC family drama "American Dreams."  "My religion, my Catholicity, is the most important thing in my life," said the 82-year-old Montalban, who appeared on the Beverly Hilton Hotel stage in a wheelchair, as he suffers from severe leg ailments that have left him 80 percent paralyzed in one leg. The Mexico City-born star of the 1970s TV hit "Fantasy Island," who also was one of MGM's "Latin lover" movie stars, said that words like purity, innocence, modesty and accountability "are superfluous today," but that faith and his family have anchored him. The annual CIMA awards combine a Catholic Mass, a brunch and an awards ceremony into a four-hour Sunday gathering, which this year attracted about 500 people including actress Bonnie Hunt and actor Joe Campanella. "American Dreams" executive producer Jonathan Prince accepted his CIMA TV award, saying, "Family shows are not en vogue -- entertainment that is safe for the family to watch together."

Chinese Christian Xiao's Wife Notified of Charges
Voice of the Martyrs

Mrs. Gou Qinghui, wife of imprisoned house-church Christian Xiao Bi-guang, finally received official notification of her husband's arrest at 5 p.m. yesterday. Chinese law states that the families of arrested persons will be notified within 24 hours of arrest; Xiao was arrested September 26. Mrs. Gou needed the official notification to hire an attorney to represent her husband. She has now done that, and attorneys plan to visit the Detention Center of Lushan County in Henan Province, where Xiao is being held, later this week. The official document included the charge against Xiao, "subverting the national government." It also included a hand-written note explaining the delay. According to the note, signed by officers Zhang Dang Yi and Li Hai Tao, they received the wrong address from Xiao during his interrogation, and therefore could not meet the deadline established by Chinese law. "This is a clear result of pressure put on by Christians around the world," said Voice Of the Martyrs spokesman Todd Nettleton. "They had to come up with an excuse for why they didn't follow their own law. Beijing PSB officers know where Brother Xiao lives. In fact, they have been monitoring his wife's activities. They could have delivered this notice at any time during the past month, but they didn't until international pressure mounted."